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Apple pushing for multi-touch trademark

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
Apple Inc. wants to guard its name for the iPhone's signature interface through a trademark, but has ventured outside American borders as part of the process.

On the same day as its first touchscreen devices were rolling into stores, June 29th, Apple was quietly applying for a trademark in a Far East intellectual property office for the term "multi-touch" -- a cornerstone of the company's iPhone marketing efforts in the US.

If successful, Apple would have the right to restrict use of the phrase by other companies for more than just cellphones, according to the filing. Most handhelds, including media players and PDAs, would be covered by the trademark.

Companies producing electronics outside of Apple's typical boundaries would also find themselves barred from referring to "multi-touch" under the conditions set out by the document: video game consoles and televisions are equally addressed, the company says.

The concept behind the interface has proven increasingly important to Apple since its introduction, with analysts already calling it a "mega-platform" that could be used for a slew of new products beyond handhelds. Multiple patents have already been filed that would extend the area- and gesture-sensitive technique to computer mice, in addition to those patents announced by chief executive Steve Jobs during his Macworld San Francisco keynote in January.

Whether or not the iPhone maker's belief in the control mechanism will be supported by the law is unknown, as the application is currently under review.
post #2 of 70
They are smart to nail down both U.S. and foreign intellectual property rights as fast as possible.
post #3 of 70
I have a feeling they apple will be incorporating this technology into other products they have.
I hope so!
post #4 of 70
NFW. Prior art, Apple, prior art. The term multi-touch could be trademarked by Jeff Han, or many others even before him, if cursory research on the term is accurate...

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post #5 of 70
This is retarded and hopefully will be rejected. Multi-Touch is too generic and has a history of use before Apple.
post #6 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wojciechowski View Post

This is retarded and hopefully will be rejected. Multi-Touch is too generic and has a history of use before Apple.

Then someone should point that out to Microsloth (or to the USPTO) in regard to their trademark on the term "Windows", eh?
post #7 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by plus View Post

Then someone should point that out to Microsloth (or to the USPTO) in regard to their trademark on the term "Windows", eh?

Not so, they have a registered trademark on the term Microsoft Windows. Windows is too generic.

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post #8 of 70
Is prior art relevant to Trademarks? I doubt it… also, it wouldn't stop others from using multi-touch or similar technologies, merely it would stop them being referenced as specifically multi-touch.

Ever since the iPhone showed that this kind of interface was responsive on relatively cheaper computer hardware, I've had visions of automated house/kitchen electronics being controller by a central computer or even iPhone.
post #9 of 70
non-singular touch
dos dedos
two finger shuffle
mr. pointy and his next door neighbor

i'm applying for the patents... any companies that want to license, let me know



obvious invention? technology not actually invented by apple? perhaps "multi-touch" specifically can be patented, and the concept is sort of new, but after awhile at what point do patents become ridiculous? should disney sue all manufacturers of the mouse? should we forgive monster cable for suing monster.com, monster energy drink, and a whole slew of other companies that have "monster" in their name?
post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post

non-singular touch
dos dedos
two finger shuffle
mr. pointy and his next door neighbor

i'm applying for the patents... any companies that want to license, let me know

Just apply for "Extreme" & "X-treme" and you will make your money back in an hour.

If Apple named their product "Multi-Touch" instead of "iPhone" then they might have a point. But trying to copyright the description "Multi-Touch" is going too far.
post #11 of 70
I'm sorry, but this is BS trademark abuse and it's probably going to get approved by idiots who don't know any better. As SpamSandwich noted the term "multi-touch" predates Apple use of it. It can, at the very least, be tracked back to Bill Buxton in the 80's. It may even go back to Myron Krueger.

As someone who has been designing multi-touch products, well before the world was hypnotized by the iPhone, I find this immensely annoying. Hopefully someone like MS will take them to court if they're awarded this registered trademark. Lord knows no one else has the money in this industry.

ugh. Apple, I love your products, but this is complete bullshit.

I wonder if they've even tried to patent pinching and two-finger tapping... gestures that Apple did NOT create.
post #12 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevalierMalFet View Post

Is prior art relevant to Trademarks? I doubt it also, it wouldn't stop others from using multi-touch or similar technologies, merely it would stop them being referenced as specifically multi-touch.

Ever since the iPhone showed that this kind of interface was responsive on relatively cheaper computer hardware, I've had visions of automated house/kitchen electronics being controller by a central computer or even iPhone.

If it there is substantial documentation proving generic use, it would make it substantially more difficult for Apple to claim copyright or get a registered trademark... it's like trying to trademark "The War on Terror"... it's so common now, ownership would be nearly impossible.

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post #13 of 70
Wow "Multi-Touch" is going to change everything. I am going to hold off buying a laptop until next year when I expect a totally Multi-Touch 15 inch ultra thin tablet. There will be no actual keyboard or pad. The keyboad and controls will be on the screen and I can drag and open files with my fingers. It will look like a big upright iPhone without the chin and forehead.
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post #14 of 70
with people filing patent for anything they can think of, apple inc will be fools not to do so now, if they have not done so already, i can't even believe people can file a patent for and idea, and just wait for someone to create a product similar to yours and wait for them to hit it big, and then sue the heck out of then, nice right, remember you thought about it first if someone makes money on it, and if someone gets hurt because of it all you have to do is not go public
post #15 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua OS X View Post

I'm sorry, but this is BS trademark abuse and it's probably going to get approved by idiots who don't know any better. As SpamSandwich noted the term "multi-touch" predates Apple use of it. It can, at the very least, be tracked back to Bill Buxton in the 80's. It may even go back to Myron Krueger.

As someone who has been designing multi-touch products, well before the world was hypnotized by the iPhone, I find this immensely annoying. Hopefully someone like MS will take them to court if they're awarded this registered trademark. Lord knows no one else has the money in this industry.

ugh. Apple, I love your products, but this is complete bullshit.

I wonder if they've even tried to patent pinching and two-finger tapping... gestures that Apple did NOT create.

None of that has anything to do with trademarks.

A company can still apply for one even if the term has been used before, but hasn't been trademarked.
post #16 of 70
And to extend apon what mel said, if Apple didn't try, then someone else would. Then what would Apple do, stop using the word "multi-touch"? or pay a hefty yearly sum to keep using the word? It's better for Apple to try. They will either fail, in which case then anyone can use it, or they will succeed and block the jerk who will try to extort money out of Apple.
post #17 of 70
Apple doesn't have a hope in hell of winning this one. They may as well try and Trademark® lower case 'i'.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #18 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Apple doesn't have a hope in hell of winning this one. They may as well try and Trademark® lower case 'i'.

Is that one worse than AirPort, Aqua, Bonjour, Boot Camp, Carbon, Cocoa, Exposé, FairPlay, Keynote, Logic, Pages, Quartz, Rosetta, Soundtrack, or Tubes? (Apple Trademark List)
post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

NFW. Prior art, Apple, prior art. The term multi-touch could be trademarked by Jeff Han, or many others even before him, if cursory research on the term is accurate...

Hi SpamSandwich, I think if you look closely again many do not call it "muti-touch" has with BellLabs "AT&T" now, or Citywall "Uix" they call their's multimodal interfaces. Same with other too! Except for Jeff Han he always refers to it has MultiTouch, has he himself says it's not the technology that's a breakthough but his implementation off it! Mostly his software Pixel the hardware he himself says has been made simple & cheap!
I remember Apple working on such devices before in the mid eighties that's why there was those future concepts such has the Navigator but also desktops systems ?/Desktop/Proto08b.jpg
http://www.theapplecollection.com/de...proto/002.html
This was showen in 92 but then dropped, their were many others which have now resurfaced with the return of SJ "?TV", iMac & iPhone which started back of late 1999 hardware wise 2001. the hardware is referred to has Multi-touch has to the others being mostly software but all using the same hardware (which is not the same has Apple Multi-touch hardware & has mentioned above impending patent.
post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

None of that has anything to do with trademarks.

A company can still apply for one even if the term has been used before, but hasn't been trademarked.

Trademarks do not have to be registered in the US. You can still take someone to court if you did not register a trademark.

remember... there's ® but there's also ™
post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkStar View Post

Hi SpamSandwich, I think if you look closely again many do not call it "muti-touch" has with BellLabs "AT&T" now, or Citywall "Uix" they call their's multimodal interfaces. Same with other too! Except for Jeff Han he always refers to it has MultiTouch, has he himself says it's not the technology that's a breakthough but his implementation off it! Mostly his software Pixel the hardware he himself says has been made simple & cheap!
I remember Apple working on such devices before in the mid eighties that's why there was those future concepts such has the Navigator but also desktops systems ?/Desktop/Proto08b.jpg
http://www.theapplecollection.com/de...proto/002.html
This was showen in 92 but then dropped, their were many others which have now resurfaced with the return of SJ "?TV", iMac & iPhone which started back of late 1999 hardware wise 2001. the hardware is referred to has Multi-touch has to the others being mostly software but all using the same hardware (which is not the same has Apple Multi-touch hardware & has mentioned above impending patent.

The term "multi-touch," as it has applied to products, research, and academia, dates back to the mid to early 80s. Search a journal database, or start browsing around on Bill Buxton's web site.
post #22 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Apple doesn't have a hope in hell of winning this one. They may as well try and Trademark® lower case 'i'.

They'll get it. It's hard to check common law trademarks, so registered trademarks are usually awarded until they're contested in court.
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton View Post

if Apple didn't try, then someone else would. Then what would Apple do, stop using the word "multi-touch"? or pay a hefty yearly sum to keep using the word? It's better for Apple to try.

I agree. It is a generic term but Apple have had this issue before:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/03...for_inventing/
http://www.engadget.com/2006/12/18/c...d-voip-phones/

so they need to be careful. I actually think that given the fact they will have known about it so long, they maybe should have tried to apply sooner. But I guess their love of secrecy was too much.
post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton View Post

And to extend apon what mel said, if Apple didn't try, then someone else would. Then what would Apple do, stop using the word "multi-touch"? or pay a hefty yearly sum to keep using the word? It's better for Apple to try. They will either fail, in which case then anyone can use it, or they will succeed and block the jerk who will try to extort money out of Apple.

The one comment in this whole thread so far that is correct.

Companies register trademarks so that they can either own them outright or so that they can be thrown out by the trademark bodies as too generic. Either way, it protects the company against other companies either using their trademark or acquiring a trademark themselves and then filing a trademark infringement lawsuit later.

Prior use, prior art - all not important. It's who gets there first that matters.

And if you think 'multi-touch' is too generic then just look at the list of trademarks Apple HAS managed to get registered...

http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html
post #25 of 70
Hello Aqua OS X, I wasn't denying or implying that others don't use the term
multi-touch. It's that they haven't a patent or patented the "Multi-touch" in term of hardware or software. Just as Pages, Aqua & so on now why not multi-touch, yes other's will still refer to the term multi-touch when describing their devices, just has Apple uses the term windows; but in documents they never use the term only refering to Finder or iTunes-interface etc. Just imagine sometime in the future say when if ever Apple show a true-3D interactive "Touch, feeling" they call Multi-touch true-3D UI. Ok I'm going off the deep end now or maybe I'm just an Apple fan!
post #26 of 70
Null.
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Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

That's the stupidest thing I ever heard! Not only has the idea been around for years in several forms, but so has the term "multi-touch" and Apple getting a trademark on that would be stupid! Yes, I hope the application fails in every single country they filed for it. This is something a marketing company would do, not a company that was made by engineers and designers.

Oh come on. Apple have trademarked 'Carbon', the most common element on earth. If that's not prior art, what is?
post #28 of 70
From Wiki

A trademark or trade mark is a distinctive sign or indicator of some kind which is used by an individual, business organization or other legal entity to uniquely identify the source of its products and/or services to consumers, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities. A trademark is a type of intellectual property, and typically comprises a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories.

The owner of a registered trademark may commence legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorised use of that trademark. However, registration is not required. The owner of a common law trademark may also file suit, but an unregistered mark may be protectable only within the geographical area within which it has been used or in geographical areas into which it may be reasonably expected to expand.

The term trademark is also used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is readily identified, particularly the well known characteristics of celebrities. Such trademarks can be a style of haircut (Elvis Presley's distinctive ducktail), articles of clothing or accessories (Liberace's flamboyant costumes and jewelry, Elton John's oversized sunglasses, Michael Jackson's sparkly glove), facial hair (Groucho Marx's mustache), or even breast size (Dolly Parton and Pamela Anderson).
post #29 of 70
First, a general comment for everyone following this thread: a trademark is different from a copyright which is different from a patent! Questions of "prior art" apply to patents, but not really to the others.

In particular, a trademark is all about commercial use of a specific term, and not the ideas or mechanisms themselves. The only connection is that a trademark is granted for commercial use of that term in a particular trade or industry. That's why "Apple" could be a trademark for a music company in England (Apple Records) and a perfectly fine trademark, at the same time, for computers (Apple Computer)two different trademarks, in two different industries. It only got to be an issue when the boundaries between those two previously-quite-distinct industries melted away over time...leading to the series of famous court cases between the two companies and the now-famous resolution of the California computer/phone/music player company gaining full rights to the trademark originally held by Apple Records.

Now, for all those complaining (perhaps legitimately) that "multi-touch" is too general and established a term for Apple to trademark it, let's look at the (in my opinion, much more egregious) precedent of Microsoft's trademark on the common English word "windows":

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Not so, they have a registered trademark on the term Microsoft Windows. Windows is too generic.

Microsoft was granted a trademark of the common English word "windows" in 1995. I and many others agree with you here, SpamSandwich, that this ought not to have been allowed, but from a quick Google, it was granted and seems to still stand.

MS's trademark has been tested in court, specifically when MS enforced it against "Lindows". Here's a New York Times article from 30-Dec-02 about the then-new court case. It's quite clear that what's at issue is the validity of MS's existing trademark on a simple English word:

Quote:
Lindows.com is defending a broad principle, its lawyer says. ''No company, no matter how powerful, no matter how much money it has spent, should be able to gain a commercial monopoly on words in the English language,'' said the lawyer, Daniel Harris, a partner at Clifford Chance.

Fast forward to 11-Feb-04, and here's an article from Law.com giving the status of the case and profiling the legal issues at play.

Quote:
Microsoft applied for registration of the Windows trademark in 1990 and was issued the trademark in 1995.

I remember the case being resolved, although I'm not immediately finding an article I can cite. But for a test of the consequences, just try visiting http://lindows.comand you'll be instantly redirected to http://linspire.com. Lindows.com lost; Microsoft's trademark on "windows" was upheld.

And finally, here's Microsoft's own page of helpful guidelines for how we can all properly honor their trademark on "windows". There are various products with longer and more specific names (e.g., "Windows XP operating system")...but the core trademark itself is on the single word "windows". As they so helpfully direct us:

Quote:
Include an attribution of Microsoft's ownership of the Windows trademark within the credit notice section of your documentation or advertisement. Follow this format:

"Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries."

So, compared to all of that, plus taking note of the other trademarks that Apple itself already holds on other terms (as others have pointed out earlier in this thread), I would predict (although IANAL) that they should have little trouble getting a trademark on the term "multi-touch". The key question as I see it is whether any of the prior use of the term has been sufficiently strongly tied to a product, or family of products. Just being associated with some technology doesn't seem to pose much of a hurdle. (And again, the question of what patents Apple may legitimately be able to procure in this domain is a very separate question.]
post #30 of 70
One word, "Rendezvous"

It's a pretty common word, been around and in use for awhile, and yet Apple had to rename it to Bonjour. Note, there was no issue with the underlying technology or how it was implemented, only in how it was named. So Apple was forced to rename it because someone else had already laid claim to Rendezvous.

So it's perfectly legit for Apple to trademark Multi-Touch. And note, they aren't laying claim to all uses of the word, only the use of the word to label a certain technology and it's implementation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonjour_(software)

Bonjour's original name, when introduced in August 2002 as part of Mac OS X v10.2, was "Rendezvous", similar to the French word rendez-vous for a meeting or get-together. On August 27, 2003, Tibco Software Inc announced that it had filed suit for trademark infringement.[1] Tibco already had an enterprise application integration product called TIBCO Rendezvous on the market since 1994, and the company stated that they had tried and failed to come to an agreement with Apple Computer. In July 2004, Apple Computer and Tibco reached an out-of-court settlement;[2] specifics of the settlement were not released to the public. It was widely rumored at the time that the new name would be OpenTalk, but this name was not picked (possibly due to the similarities to LocalTalk and PowerTalk). On April 12, 2005, Apple announced that Rendezvous was being renamed to Bonjour,[3] which is also a French word, meaning "hello", "good morning", or literally "Good Day".
post #31 of 70
There seems to be confusion in this thread regarding what Apple is trying to trademark. What Apple is aiming at a trademark on the name, and not the concept behind the name. So it's not to prevent anybody else to use "multi-touch interface", just to force everybody else to use another word than "multitouch" when referring to the concept.

The concept of "prior art" does not apply to these kind of trademarks. Otherwise, how could Apple have tradmarked terms like AirPort or Bonjour... and the rest of the list mentioned by AISI. Not to mention the word Apple itself !

Comment : As I was adding my comment, a slew of others appeared in the meantime, also clarifying the concept. I hope all is clear now ! Maybe I should trademark "multiclarification" ?
post #32 of 70
Wouldn't iMulti-Touch make more sense?
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post #33 of 70
As posted on the comment board over at Macrumors by carfac, Apple applied for the U.S. Trademark "Multi-touch" for handheld mobile digital electronic devices on June 30, 2007. You can find it by doing a search for "multi-touch" in the US PTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) using the New User Form Search:

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?...glish&p_d=trmk
post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Not so, they have a registered trademark on the term Microsoft Windows. Windows is too generic.

It's not really a problem though. Trademarks can be issued for different categories. You can't own all uses for a word, the ownership is permitted only for certain circumstances.

Do a search on USPTO's TESS for "Window" and you'll find 2672 trademark documents. Some of them are re-registrations, but still, that's a lot of claims, and most of them aren't at all related to Microsoft's product line or software that works with their products.
post #35 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by meh 2 View Post

They are smart to nail down both U.S. and foreign intellectual property rights as fast as possible.

Yes, they should do US and foreign first, because alien property rights aren't the priority right now.

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"Isnt it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - douglas adams
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post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

So it's perfectly legit for Apple to trademark Multi-Touch. And note, they aren't laying claim to all uses of the word, only the use of the word to label a certain technology and it's implementation.

No it's not. A common law trademark predates Apple's soon-to-be registered trademark. If someone with equal money takes them to court, they'll loose.
post #37 of 70
Maybe I should trademark the word "phone" and sue Apple (and Cisco, and probably a gazillion other places who have used the term).
post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Maybe I should trademark the word "phone" and sue Apple (and Cisco, and probably a gazillion other places who have used the term).

Don't forget E.T.!
post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Maybe I should trademark the word "phone" and sue Apple (and Cisco, and probably a gazillion other places who have used the term).

That's a great idea! And bonus points for the gazillionth use of that analogy!
post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacShack View Post

Wouldn't iMulti-Touch make more sense?

I was thinking along the same lines.

They should've come up with a new name for the idea and simply announced it from day one as their form of multi-gestural input rather than staking so much in the broad term "multi-touch."
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